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UT Trip Maps: Big Loop from Las Vegas

Ohio, USA
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UT Trip Maps: Big Loop from Las Vegas

Here’s the second map in the series, this on covering the “big loop” out of Las Vegas:

http://tinyurl.com/LVbigloop

This example takes in all of the Utah National Parks (Zion, Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef, Arches and Canyonlands) as well as the south rim of the Grand Canyon and allows for stops at other great places like Monument Valley, Page and Goblin Valley. This also includes the drive along scenic route 12 from Bryce Canyon to Torrey.

I think this trip requires a minimum of 11 nights/12 days, but two weeks or more will make for a much better trip. Here’s a framework for an itinerary to go with the map:

Leave LV and head to Zion for 2-3 nights.

One to Bryce Canyon for 1-2 nights

Take the day and enjoy scenic route 12; overnight in Torrey.

Explore Capitol Reef and Goblin Valley on the way to Moab. Or take all day in Capitol Reef and spend a second night in Torrey. Next visit Goblin Valley and perhaps hike Little Wild Horse and/or Bell slot canyons on the way to Moab.

2-4 nights in Moab (Arches, Canyonlands Island in the Sky, Dead Horse Point SP, drive route 128 and the La Sal Mountain roads, mountain biking, rafting, day trip to the Needles section of Canyonlands and Newspaper Rock….lots of options).

South to Monument Valley for a night. If you can get a room at The View, grab it!

On to Page for 2 to 4 nights. Again many options on how to fill the time (Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, raft trip, boating on Lake Powell, lake tour to Rainbow Bridge, tour the dam, Lee’s Ferry and Navajo Bridge…you get the picture).

On to the Grand Canyon south rim for at least one night…more if you plan hiking below the rim.

Back to LV.

That is just one way to schedule this trip; there are many other variations. The trip can of course be done in reverse order.

Remember to review the trip report archive for additional ideas on places to stay, things to see and do, and places to eat while you are exploring UT and AZ.

St. Augustine...
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1. Re: UT Trip Maps: Big Loop from Las Vegas

Hi Ohio. Thanks so much for all the time you put into this. We're just getting ready to do this almost exact trip in May, in reverse. I'll be posting a few specific questions probably next week, but your post confirms that we have a good trip lined up.

DH is from West Virginia, too ( I think you are, right?) I chuckle every time you say "I reckon" because that's his favorite phrase.

One question, Is that La Sal Mountain Loop Road all paved, or at least enough so to venture on with a rental SUV? We're staying at Red Cliffs and planning to take that, coming up from Monument Valley.

Thanks again for all the work you put into these maps. Great idea. Maybe you can pin them to the top, like the trip reports, so people see them early on in the question asking stage?

Ohio, USA
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2. Re: UT Trip Maps: Big Loop from Las Vegas

Yep, I'm a native hillbilly from southern WV.

The La Sal Mountain loop road is paved part of the way, and gravel nearer the top, but it is a very good road and was in great shape when we drove is last in 2009. Of course conditions change, but I think that it is generally well maintained. No issues with the rental vehicle on this drive.

Kbecjeans and I discussed the best place to archive these maps and we decided that we would have it a Top Question (see the link area in at the top of the right side of the page). She has already created the question for the maps and has the first one included already. We are tagg-teaming the effort. In the end, we will have a great set of resources with the trip report sticky and the map examples in the Top Questions.

St. Augustine...
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3. Re: UT Trip Maps: Big Loop from Las Vegas

Great idea. Good place for it! Thanks to both of you.

Salem, Massachusetts
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4. Re: UT Trip Maps: Big Loop from Las Vegas

I want to thank OhioHick and Kbecjeans for the time and effort they put into both the small loop and big loop of NP's in southern Utah. This is perfect for what my wife and I were looking for. Again Thanks for a job Well Done.

Salt Lake City, Utah
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5. Re: UT Trip Maps: Big Loop from Las Vegas

You are welcome MrEd, We are definitely hoping it helps with the planning which can be a little overwhelming with so much to think about.

I wanted to add some activities for this Big Loop

Zion Activities: Hiking. In 2 days you can do many of the shorter trails (Riverside walk, Weeping rock, Emerald Pools, Canyon Overlook) and one or two of the major trails (Angel's Landing, Observation Point, Hidden Canyon). Tubing the Virgin in the summer. Biking through the main Canyon. History Museum. Imax. Summer theater.

Bryce Activities: Hiking, Bristlecone Pine, Navajo, Queens Garden, Peekaboo, Fairyland, Mossy Cave. Stargazing. Moonlight walks. Summer rodeo.

Hwy 12: www.scenicbyway12.com Cannonville Visitor Center. Kodachrome Basin and Grosvenor Arch. Escalante SP and hike. Escalante Visitor Center. Kiva Koffehouse has an enviable location. Hole in the Rock road to Devil's Garden! Spooky and Peekaboo slot canyons. Calf Creek Falls hike (lower or upper). Hogbacks. Burr trail (especially the first 15 miles). Anasazi ruins SP. Dinner at Hell's Backbone. Boulder Mt views.

Some of what I recommend requires dirt road travel. For the most part the roads are maintained and okay for a high clearance vehicle, but it is always a good idea to check local conditions as they can change.

Capitol Reef activities: Historic area- farmhouse, orchards, petroglyphs, old school house. Hiking- Capitol Gorge, Hickman Bridge, Grand Wash, Cassidy Arch. Backcountry drives Notom and Burr trails, Cathedral Valley.

Along the way: Goblin Valley, LIttle Wild Horse slot, Horseshoe Canyon Petroglyphs. In Green River- John Powell Museum and RiverRunner Hall of fame, melons, and Ray's Tavern. Sego Canyon Petroglyphs

Moab activities: Hiking: Arches hikes: Must do- Delicate Arch. Others, Fiery Furnace (book online reservations early), The Windows area, Park Avenue, Devil's Garden at least to Landscape arch. Tunnel Arch in the Klondike area. Canyonlands hikes: Mesa Arch, Grandview Point, Aztec Buttes. Not in a park hiking: Corona Arch, Morning Glory Arch, Fisher Towers. Rafting the Colorado, several half day, full day or overnight options. Jeeping- lots of trails, rent a jeep or take a tour. Biking. Canyoneering.

Along the way to Monument Valley watch for the Hole in the Rock. Wilsons Arch, Needles Overlook. Even a short drive through the Needles area can be amazing. Newspaper rock. Edge of the Cedars SP in Blanding. Bluff old fort.

A great secondary route is to take 95 west at Blanding to 261 south (with optional detour to Natural Bridges NM). 261 south will take you to Muley Point (5mile dirt), Moki Dugway (stop at the first turnoff for pictures, and hang on to your steering wheel), Goosenecks SP. Also Valley of the Gods is a 17 mile dirt road scenic backway.

At Monument Valley take a tour. Lots to chose from.

I think Page and Grand Canyon have been covered here and in the short loop.

Or maybe I just got tired :-) This is a LOT of ground to get to and you need adequate time to do it. But it can be memorable and might just tug at your heart to come again. Just like those potato chips, on(c)e is not enough.

Uden, The...
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6. Re: UT Trip Maps: Big Loop from Las Vegas

I think it's best to make LaSal Mountain loop counter clockwise so start off us191 south of Moab. It gets more scenic after a while and you'll be driving towards the giant Red Rocks on the way to 128. That's the best part imo.

Tet

Ohio, USA
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7. Re: UT Trip Maps: Big Loop from Las Vegas

You're welcome, MrEd and AKLover. My pleasure. It really is a team effort between Kbec and me, plus everyone else who has chimed in with additional details. I think will be very helpful to folks planning a trip, particularly first-timers who may not have a feel for the vastness of he area. I think the combination of these maps and the trip report archives will make an outstanding resource for trip planning.

Perth, Australia
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8. Re: UT Trip Maps: Big Loop from Las Vegas

Hi OhioHIck, I've just stumbled across this map - and think this is probably going to be best solution. I can allocate the time, and fits in everything I want - I just hadn't thought of looping back to LV and was kindof hoping it would work to head out either to south or north to get towards west coast. I'll ask the Road trippers what they say.

Looks like I've been asking the same qn everyone asks, hence you created this wonderful resource. Thank you.

Uden, The...
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9. Re: UT Trip Maps: Big Loop from Las Vegas

Hope the route on the RT forum is ok for you ;)

Ohio, USA
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10. Re: UT Trip Maps: Big Loop from Las Vegas

TriathlonOz: Glad you flound this. I had provided the link to this map in reply number 3 to your first post in the UT forum. I also listed a slight modification to this route as a reply in your other thread.